California Workers’ Compensation laws give deadlines for employees to receive treatment and forms to be filed after an injury. But what about when an injured employee refuses to accept treatment or file a Work Comp claim? What do you need to do as an employer? While the exact legal answer depends on your situation and state laws, consider the following to limit your liability.
When You Discover an Employee Has Been Injured
Even if the employee has not mentioned it, find out how the employee was injured to determine whether it was job-related. Many state workers’ compensation statutes obligate employers to report injuries as soon as they have knowledge of them. Delay in reporting the injury could result in much more costly claims. Completing the paperwork to report injuries is not an admission of your liability—it actually could protect you.
If the Employee Refuses to File a Claim
Explain to the employee that reporting job-related injuries allows them to get benefits while they recover. If the employee does not wish to file a claim for the injury, file the employer’s portion of the report with a statement of claim refusal. Have the employee sign the paperwork. It is crucial that you document this conversation to protect your organization from being penalized in the future.
Employees who report injuries but refuse medical treatment should sign a similar form confirming they do not wish to receive treatment.
Benefits for Employees that Refuse Medical Treatment
State laws vary, but in most cases, workers’ compensation benefits are suspended for employees who do not want an exam or medical treatment. Benefits may not be payable for this period of refusal of treatment—check with your insurance agent.
What to Do Now
Be ready in case you ever need to deal with this situation. All employers should have a legal representative draft a form for refusal of treatment. Make sure it is in compliance with state laws. Ask your insurance agent if the carrier has a form. Discuss with supervisors the importance of documenting and reporting all injuries, whether or not the worker chooses to report them.
Workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory in California. Speak to an expert at ERM Insurance Brokers for more information. (949) 222-0444.